DWF acted in a claim being brought by a former Police Sergeant involving allegations of bullying/harassment over a five year period by a former commanding officer, resulting in him suffering a mental breakdown.
Following a substantial absence from duty, he returned to work on restricted duties but alleged that he was led to believe that he would ultimately be required to return to his former role, which would have brought him into contact with former colleagues and managers. As a result he alleged that he suffered a further breakdown leading to him handing in his resignation. It was accepted that the claimant had suffered a psychiatric injury in the form of a breakdown prior to his first period of absence, but it was not accepted that this was as a result of bullying/harassment. The claimant had a number of significant stressors in his life at the time of his initial breakdown.
The claim was dismissed as the court preferred the evidence of the Chief Inspector and the claimant's line manager, on the basis that they were reliable and honest witnesses and there was clear evidence that the claimant would not be posted to his former role when he was fit for active duty. The Judge found that the defendant had not breached its duty to the claimant and even if there had been a breach, accepted the medical evidence of the defendant to the extent that his mental health condition did not amount to a decline in his psychiatric condition consistent with a mental health injury having been caused by any action (or part of) by the defendant.
The final schedule of loss in this case was approximately £500,000 and the costs of running the matter to trial equated to approximately 1/5th of the potential value of the case. This resulted in a considerable saving for the clients, given that any attempt to "buy-off" the claim at an earlier stage would have resulted in a substantial payment to cover the claimant's cost's (budgeted in region of £200,000) in addition to damages and payment of DWF's costs.